In a combination of Pikmin and a 3D platformer, developer Splashteam seems to have a winner on their hands with Tinykin. I’ve only played one level, but it was enough to win me over with a charming art style, relaxing gameplay and intuitive design choices that made me want to explore and unlock every nook and cranny of the demo as I could. 

You play as Milo, who arrives on earth in 1991 after teleportation goes wrong and find no humans left, and he’s now tiny. He’s as small as an ant. Although this could be a problem, a power Milo has is the ability to capture and command tinykin, which are small creatures capable of lifting, moving and destroying objects. 

In the first level, exploring what I think is a lounge room of sorts, there are two types of tinykin, but the full release will have many more. Cracking open a tinykin (shell? egg?) will make it follow you, and you can have a max of one-hundred tinykin following you at one time. However, they can be a mix of different types, and in what I played, I’d get close to, or around, thirty tinykin max following me at one time. The purple tinykin are capable of moving or carrying objects, while the red ones can explode and destroy things to unlock pathways, help solve puzzles or release honey, which is one of the game’s many collectable types. 

Tinykin has a vibrant cartoon style where it combines 2D characters with a 3D world to great effect. The Milo model looks excellent, and I never found the platforming or movement to be adhered to by the mix of 2D and 3D as he has a circular base still, and you can see this in his shadow. 

There’s no combat in Tinykin, which may turn some players off. There may be boss battles later, but I doubt it. Instead, the game is all about exploration, unlocking new pathways on a vast level, and solving small puzzles to gather collectables. The main goal is an assortment of random objects needed to build a machine to help sort out Hugo’s mess. 

I nearly unlocked everything in Tinykin, and I spent more time exploring than needed to “finish the level,” which you can see in the gameplay video at the bottom of the page. Tinykin felt relaxing to play, and as a collectathon sucker, I enjoyed grabbing everything I could see insight and looking towards that 100% completion. Nothing in the game slows you down either, and one of the smartest decisions made by the developers was not to have the player switch between the tinykin they’re controlling. Instead, shoot them at an object, and the game will use the correct one to carry, push or explode. Overall a small choice, but one that helps the game feel very smooth and seamless. 

The demo for Tinykin will be playable for everyone during Steam Next Fest (21-28 February).